Hectorjayjay's emotional return
by Adam Hamilton
THE memory of Gavin Lang will run deep at Albion Park on Saturday night.
Not only are all the races on the night named after Lang and some of the major winners he drove in Queensland, but Hectorjayjay makes his long-awaited and unlikely comeback in a race named after himself.
Lang’s association with Hectorjayjay ran deep. He drove the superstar 13 times for nine wins, three seconds and a luckless fifth.
The biggest wins were the Group 1 Len Smith Mile and the Group 2 Sunshine Sprint, which was at Albion Park back on July 9, 2016.
Lang then trained and drove Hectorjayjay to win his only run in a comeback campaign at Kilmore on June 30, 2018, before he went amiss again.
Saturday night will be Hectorjayjay’s first run he won at Kilmore for Lang.
Hectorjayjay has raced just once winning the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 15, 2017.
The nine-year-old has been nursed back for one last comeback attempt by Queensland trainer Jack Butler, who is both excited but measured in his approach to Saturday night’s race.
“He’s as good as we can have him after a long, slow build-up and a couple of trials, but he’ll be driven quiet and to use that speed of his at the finish,” Butler said.
“After so long out, he’s not ready to blast off the gate, especially from outside the front.
“He’ll go back, hopefully the race will be run strongly, which it should be with Glenferrie Hood up front, and he’ll be storming home.
“A pass mark for me is for him to hit the line really well and come through it in good fashion.
“But, and I say but because he’s such an amazing horse, it wouldn’t surprise me if he won, especially if he can get the right sort of ride into the race.”